Vimala, 87, enjoys singing Malayalam's first playback song even now after 75 years

Siraj Khasim

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Vimala B Varma

When the first playback song of the Malayalam movie entered its 75th anniversary in February 2023, the singer who rendered her phenomenal voice to this much celebrated song still enjoys singing this masterpiece even at the age of 87.

Vimala B Varma, who sang and performed the first playback song of Malayalam that appeared in the 1948 movie ‘Nirmala’, expressed her delight in the release of new renditions of the song. The adaptation of the same song starring Madonna Sebastian and sung by Sithara Krishnakumar became a huge hit on YouTube recently. Along with singers Govinda Rao and Sarojini Menon, a sixth standard student Vimala also marked history by pioneering playback singing in Malayalam. PV Krishna Iyer’s directorial venture ‘Nirmala’ was the fourth Malayalam film with a soundtrack. The songs for the movie were written by the legendary poet G Shankara Kurup. Though there were songs in the first three sound films of Malayalam, the singers were singing and performing on the spot in all of them.

When singer Sarojini Menon reached Modern Theatres in Salem to sing for ‘Nirmala’, the music director informed her that a child artiste was also required to sing a song in the movie. She immediately contacted her student Vimala, who made the song more exquisite with her appealing voice. The director also offered roles of two children in the movie to Vimala, which she performed well. However, Vimala did not sing in movies later.

Vimala sang over 500 light music songs after joining Akashvani in 1955 as an artiste in a temporary post. She retired from Akashvani in 1993 as a staff announcer. She is currently residing with her daughters Krishna and Aruna.

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